As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
Mark 5:18-19 (ESV)

I find it interesting that Jesus declined this man’s request to be with Him. Instead He sent him to his own people to tell them about Jesus. Was it because the people sent Jesus away, so He sent someone they would listen to? Do we sometimes refuse to listen to God and need a person to speak to us instead?

Jesus began His ministry by calling His disciples to follow Him. He ended His ministry by sending them out into the world. But here, somewhere in the middle, He tells one man to stay home.

Home. We think we have to leave to make an impact. But sometimes the only one who can reach our neighbors is us. If you don’t know the backstory to this verse, Jesus had healed this man of a legion of demons. The demons fled into a herd of pigs and the pigs jumped off a cliff and died.

The people in the town had been terrified of this man who was uncontrollable and were amazed that he was healed and sane. But they were more afraid of Jesus and refused to let Him enter their town. They sent Jesus away!

The man, understandably, wanted to go with Jesus, but Jesus sent Him home to tell his family, friends, and neighbors what happened. There were people in that town who needed to hear the good news, but they wouldn’t let their Savior in.

Thankfully, God was compassionate and sent this man to share the news. Because if the healed man hadn’t gone back, how would the rest of the townspeople have known who worked the miracle?

Sometimes God asks us to come, sometimes He asks us to go, and sometimes He asks us to stay. Wherever we are, we are called to share the truth of Jesus with others.

Can I confess that I find this difficult? I’m an introvert and sharing with you in writing is becoming easier. But looking someone in the face and talking to them about Jesus (among other things) is more difficult for me. I hesitate, I worry about saying the wrong thing (There’s no editing in face-to-face conversations!). It’s a challenge God is calling me to work on. I want to share Jesus with my neighbors and friends, yes, even the ones who don’t already know God…perhaps especially with them.

Why is it sometimes easier to talk to strangers about our faith than to our loved ones? Is it the fear of rejection? Do we worry that saying the wrong thing will rock the boat and fracture a cherished relationship? Whatever the reason, I know Jesus didn’t hold back from speaking the truth to those closest to Him. And yes, it caused friction. But if it leads them to Jesus, isn’t it worth the risk?

Wherever you are, I pray that you spread the spark by telling others how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you. Please pray that I am emboldened to do the same.

Father, thank You for mercy and grace. Help us to grow more bold and courageous about sharing who You are and what You’ve done for us with others. Whether you ask us to come, go, or stay, help us to be faithful in sharing Your Word with those around us. Give us courage, strength, and wisdom as we step up and speak out in faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Spread the spark of hope everywhere you go,

Michelle

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